The 2016 Giro d’Italia (6-29 May), organized by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport, was unveiled today at EXPO MILANO 2015. An invited audience of over 1,000 crowded the EXPO MILANO 2015 Auditorium to see the presentation. They included EXPO 2015 Commissioner Giuseppe Sala, RCS Sport CEO Raimondo Zanaboni, the President of the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling’s world governing body), Brian Cookson, and a host of international cycling champions, including the newly crowned UCI Road World Champion, Peter Sagan.
Also present were the 2015 Giro d’Italia champion, Alberto Contador; the reigning Italian national champion and three-time Grand Tour winner, Vincenzo Nibali; the current UCI WorldTour Ranking champion Alejandro Valverde; former World champion Philippe Gilbert; top sprinters Marcel Kittel and Elia Viviani; time trial sensation Tom Dumoulin; and Ivan Basso, the winner of the 2006 and 2010 Giros d’Italia and the recipient, during the ceremony, of a special award for his career. Among the guests were representatives from Italian institutions,sponsors and members of the media.
RCS Sport CEO Raimondo Zanaboni said: “It is a real pleasure to visit the Expo, not just an excellent venue but an event with huge significance as a shop window of the very best that Italy has to offer. The Giro d’Italia, too, as well as a great sporting event, also aspires to be a shop window and a torch-bearer for Italy’s best values.
“The 2016 edition is the 99th, just one away from the centenary. The Giro d’Italia is a little piece of Italian history, with a long tradition. It is the jewel in the crown of the RCS Sport events, an international event organised by a company that casts its eyes increasingly beyond Italy’s borders. Indeed, Thursday sees the start of the Abu Dhabi Tour. organised by RCS Sports and Events. In turn, RCS Sport is part of a large network, with La Gazzetta dello Sport, its Spanish twin Marca, and Last Lap, a Spanish sports event organiser. The entire network has an increasingly international dimension.
“No better illustration is needed that the 2016 Big Start, which takes place beyond the Italian border, in the Netherlands and, to be more precise, in the Region of Gelderland.”
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “I am delighted to be here in Milan for the presentation of the the Giro d’Italia which is becoming more and more global and is an inspiration for fans all over the world. I am sure that the winner of the next edition will be a truly talented and complete rider and, as a cycling fan, I cannot wait for the 2016 Giro d’Italia to begin.
“The WorldTour season closed yesterday on a high note for Italy, with Vincenzo Nibali’s win in Il Lombardia. The overall WorldTour rankings have been won by Spain, with Valverde as the best rider and Movistar the best team. One event remains in the international calendar: the Abu Dhabi Tour, which is followed by the UCI gala. I would like to thank RCS personally for their support both for this event and for the sport of cycling in general. They are excellent partners to the UCI. I would also take this opportunity to thank the President of the Italian Cycling Federation, Renato Di Rocco”
Ivan Basso, announcing his retirement, said: “It is a very strange day for me. It is difficult to know how best to express my gratitude for a thirty year career in cycling, but I hope that, in time, I will find a way. I am retiring from racing, but it is not a sad day because my relationship with cycling goes on, and I am delighted that I will continue to work in the world that I love.The the Giro d’Italia was always the high point of my career, and to be able to greet you all from the stage of the the Giro d’Italia presentation is a special honour.”
The 2016 Giro will start in the Province of Gelderland, the Netherlands. It will be the Corsa Rosa’s twelfth start outside Italy.
THE 11 PREVIOUS FOREIGN STARTS
1965 Republic of San Marino (Winner: Vittorio Adorni); 1966 Monaco (Gianni Motta); 1973 Verviers – Belgium (Eddy Merckx); 1974 Vatican City (Eddy Merckx); 1996 Athens – Greece (Pavel Tonkov); 1998 Nice – France (Marco Pantani); 2002 Groeningen – The Netherlands (Paolo Savoldelli); 2006 Seraing – Belgium (Ivan Basso); 2010 Amsterdam – The Netherlands (Ivan Basso); 2012 Herning – Denmark (Ryder Hesjedal); 2014 Belfast – Northern Ireland (Nairo Quintana).
The first three stages take place in the Dutch Province of Gelderland. The race starts on Friday 6 May with a 9.8km Individual Time Trial around Apeldoorn, starting in the famous velodrome. Two flat stages follow: Arnehm to Nijmegen (190km) and Nijmegen to Arnhem (189km).
The riders and race officials fly to Catanzaro in the south of Italy on Monday 10 May. Stage 4, Catanzaro to Praia a Mare (191km), sees the first climbing of the race. Stage 5, Praia a Mare to Benevento, 233km along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, may very well end in a bunch sprint, while Stage 6, Ponte to Roccaraso (Aremogna), 165km, has the first mountain finish of the 2016 Corsa Rosa. Stage 7, Sulmona to Foligno, holds 210 hilly kilometres in store, while Stage 8, Foligno to Arezzo (Saturday 14 May), tackles two imposing climbs, the second of which, Alpe di Poti, features gravel roads for the final 6km.
Sunday 15 May sees the Chianti Classico Individual Time Trial over 40.4 extremely difficult kilometres, without so much as a metre of flat road.
The second rest day takes place on Monday 16 May at Campi Bisenzio, the start town for stage 10, which ends after 216km at Sestola, with the second mountain finish of the race. Stage 11 starts in Modena and finishes in Asolo (212km). The following stage, Noale to Bibione, is entirely flat.
A long weekend of epic climbing starts on Friday 20 May. Stage 13, from Palmanova to Cividale del Friuli, presents four monstrously hard climbs that have never before featured in the Giro d’Italia: Montemaggiore, Crai, Cima Porzus and Valle. Saturday 21 May sees the return of the legendary Dolomite stage from Alpago to Corvara via Passo Pordoi, Passo Sella, Passo Gardena, Passo Campolongo, Passo Giau and Passo Valparola. The third and last Individual Time Trial of the race takes place on Sunday 22 May: in the event, a 10.8km Mountain Time Trial from Castelrotto/Kastelruth to Alpe di Siusi.
The final rest day is at Bressanone/Brixen on Monday 23 May. The following day, Stage 16 leaves for Andalo via the ascents of Passo della Mendola and Fai della Paganella. Stage 17, Molveno to Cassano d’Adda, will suit the fast finishers, while Stage 18 – at 234km, the longest of the 2016 Giro – takes the peloton from Muggiò to Pinerolo – with the Pramartino climb in the final kilometres.
Friday 27 May sees the Giro cross the border into France between Pinerolo and the stage finish at Risoul. The route includes the Cima Coppi, or highest point, of the Giro d’Italia, the Colle dell’Agnello, at 2,744 metres, and then the high mountain finish at the French ski resort of Risoul. The final Saturday sees the penultimate and probably decisive stage from Guillestre to Sant’Anna di Vinadio, with four climbs: Col de Vars, Col de la Bonnette, Colle della Lombarda and the short final ramp up to the finish line. The final stage, on Sunday 29 May, starting at Cuneo and finishing in the 2015 European Capital of Sport, Turin, is essentially a showcase for the winner.